A Class That Pays

In fifth grade, my math teacher gave the class a quiz about writing checks. She issued each student an unused check, and then we had to fill in all the blanks. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the quiz; I was the one fifth grader who didn’t suddenly become a millionaire.

The big red “F” on my paper was enough to send me into tears and instill a fear of checks in me. Looking back, I remember being devastated that I would never be able to buy a life-size Barbie princess castle. But looking to the future, I still feel disillusioned. My knowledge of money management remains sorely inadequate.

I would like to think that now I would be competent at writing a check if I had a checkbook. But who even knows how to get a checking account? At some point, I, just like every other student on this campus, will have to start paying my own income tax, I don’t know what that entails. I don’t even know what income tax looks like. Tall? Dark? Handsome?

The who process just seems confusing. According to my mother, she currently takes care of paying for my income tax, but without a job how can I have an income? Does homework now pay minimum wage?

My point is, I, like many other teenagers, rely on my parents for money. I held a job once, but not for long. And even when I was working, I still spent my parents’ money. Whether we go off to college or straight to work, at some point we all must learn about money and how to manage it, a need I wish the school would fill. I don’t want to celebrate my 21st birthday by filing for Chapter 11.

On this campus, I have learned how to solve complex calculus problems, write a five paragraph essay and avoid being trampled between classes. Those are all great things, but has the ability to elbow students out of my way ever taken out a loan?

I’ve heard that money makes the word go round. But how much? And can I pay with a credit card? These are all questions that the school could answer for me, in a semester course, an optional assembly, or even pamphlets in the College Career Center.

High school is supposed to prepare us for the rest of our lives. And this school does a great job preparing us for most of that life. But it would be a real shame if the giant, gaping hole in this school’s curriculum—money management—became a giant, gaping hole in my wallet.